How to Apply for Expungement in Ohio
When Can You Apply For An Expungement
Under Ohio expungement law, one must wait a certain period of time before they can apply for expungement. This period of time is commonly referred to as the, “expungement waiting period.” How long a person must wait before they can apply for an expungement depends on the type of conviction, or manner in which the case is resolved. Further, the waiting period for an expungement does not begin to run until the final discharge or termination of the case. Typically, a person is not fully discharged until they served the entire sentence imposed by the court, completed any probation required, and paid their restitution and/or fines. Once a person has completed these requirements, many courts will note in their dockets the specific date the case was terminated. Therefore, the expungement waiting period begins to run on that date of termination or the final fulfillment court sanctions.
The following is a list of the type of conviction or disposition of the case and its corresponding waiting period for expungement under Ohio law.
Expungement of Felony Conviction
An Eligible Offender may apply to the sentencing court for a felony expungement and sealing of the record of their conviction at the expiration three years from the termination of their case when convicted of a felony offense.
Expungement of Misdemeanor Conviction
An Eligible Offender may apply to the sentencing court for a misdemeanor expungement and sealing of the record of their conviction at the expiration of one year from the termination of their case when convicted of a misdemeanor.
Expungement of Dismissed Charge
If a charge against an individual was dismissed, that person may apply for an expungement and sealing of his record immediately. There is no waiting period to file an expungement of a dismissed charge.
Expungement of an Acquittal
If a person was found not guilty at the conclusion of the trial, they are eligible to apply for an expungement immediately. There is no waiting period to file an expungement for a charge that has been acquitted.
Expungement of a No Bill
If a grand jury has returned a No Bill for a charge against an individual (a decision not to indict a person charged with an offense) and application for expungement maybe filed at any time after the expiration of two years after the date on which the grand jury reported to the court it’s no bill.
Expungement of Bail Forfeiture
Any person who has been arrested for a misdemeanor offense and who has affected bail forfeiture may apply to the court in which the misdemeanor criminal case was pending at any time after the expiration of one year from the date on which the bail forfeiture was entered.
Expungement of Multiple Offenses
First, it is important to know that a series of 2 or 3 convictions out of the same case shall be considered one conviction for purposes of expungement and sealing actions.
When a person is charged with two or more offenses as a result of the same act, and at least one of the charges as a final disposition that is different than the final disposition of other charges, that person may not apply for an expungement and sealing of his record in any of the cases until such time as he would be able to apply to the court and have all of the records in the cases pertaining to those charges expunged and sealed.
There is an exception to this under recent Ohio Expungement Law enacted in September, 2014 under OH SB143. Now if the final disposition of one, and only one, of the charges is an otherwise an unsealable conviction for motor vehicle offense, other than OVI (ORC 4511.19) or having physical control of a vehicle while under the influence (ORC 4511.194), and if the records pertaining to all the other charges would be eligible for expungement under the Not Guilty / Dismissal / No Bill expungement law (2953.52) in the absence of that conviction, the court may order that the records pertaining to all the charges be sealed. In such case, the court may not order that only a portion of the records be sealed/expunged. (As a result of this change, when a person has a Not Guilty, Dismissal or No Bill record expunged out of a case in which they also had a traffic offense, even the traffic offense will be expunged and sealed as part of the expungement case.) (ORC 2953.61) As a result, the Not Guilty/ Dismissed / or No Bill criminal record would be expunged along with the related traffic charge.
Have more Expungement Questions?
If your situation is not addressed here, take advantage of our free consultation for cases in Ohio. Contact our expungement team today to see how we can help you explore the process.